Jan 12, 2022

EPA Publishes Notice of Intent to Consider Drafting WaterSense Specification for POU RO Systems

Releasing the NOI will collect feedback on potential efficiency and performance criteria that may be required for these systems to earn the WaterSense label.

water quality

The U.S. EPA WaterSense program is considering expanding the types of products that can earn the WaterSense label to include systems that enhance water quality at the tap. 

EPA published a Notice of Intent (NOI) to consider drafting a WaterSense specification for point-of-use reverse osmosis (RO) systems.

According to EPA, with this NOI, EPA has preliminarily identified the water efficiency and performance criteria under consideration and outstanding issues that need to be addressed to help develop a draft specification for RO systems. 

WaterSense aims to determine if RO system manufacturers are interested in and capable of developing high-efficiency POU RO systems to earn the WaterSense label. 

​​WaterSense is requesting feedback on all aspects of this notice, including:

  • Scope;
  • Water efficiency; 
  • Performance & product testing;
  • Marketing & product documentation; and
  • System impacts & other product considerations. 
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WaterSense added that it does not intend to promote their installation in all homes/applications or their use over other water treatment technologies. Instead, WaterSense emphasized that RO systems may be appropriate in certain applications, so in these instances, WaterSense wants to help consumers identify more water-efficient models. 

According to the EPA, releasing the NOI will collect feedback on potential efficiency and performance criteria that may be required for these systems to earn the WaterSense label.

Manufacturers, users, water utilities, or other stakeholders interested in water-efficient POU RO systems are encouraged to review the NOI and submit comments.

EPA will host a webinar to discuss potentially labeling POU RO systems on Feb. 16, 2022, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. ET. 

There are no current federal requirements that regulate water use of RO systems, but there are some applicable industry standards that outline requirements for RO systems.

Industry Response

International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials

IAPMO strongly supports the EPA's Notice of Intent (NOI) to develop a WaterSense draft specification for POU RO systems, according to an IAPMO press release.

“IAPMO and ASSE are pleased to see EPA’s WaterSense program is considering the development of a specification for point-of-use RO systems,” said IAPMO executive vice president and chief technical services officer Tom Palkon. “The publication of ASSE 1086, Performance Requirements for Reverse Osmosis Water Efficiency – Drinking Water, should give the specification for ROs the opportunity to utilize an American National Standard (ANS) as part of the requirements.”

IAPMO R&T has been a licensed provider of WaterSense certification since 2007 and certified the first high-efficiency toilet (HET) to the standard April 2007. According to the press release, IAPMO R&T has certified thousands of lavatory faucet, toilet, urinal, shower head and weather-based irrigation controller models to the WaterSense specifications. 

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